At 10.30 am, a palpable excitement hung like mist in the December air. A crowd of around 100 sat in the middle of the road outside the AAP office in Kaushambi. Several stood up at regular intervals, only to be shouted down by those behind them. They all wore Aam Aadmi topis. All of them looked expectantly at a makeshift stage. A small group sang in the background.
Finally, at 11.15 am, Arvind Kejriwal came on stage and announced that he would be the next Chief Minister of Delhi.
The crowd broke into a frenzy, driving Kejriwal and other AAP leaders inside the party headquarters. They were followed by men who wanted to garland them. Others held balloons in their hand and popped them one by one.
“Other parties have lots of money to buy crackers to celebrate. We bought balloons and burst them. This is the Aam Aadmi Party way,” Ravinder Singh, an AAP supporter, said.
In five minutes, Kejriwal and the other leaders came out again. An appointment with the Lt-Governor had to be kept. This time, they were escorted to their cars amid a tight cordon. As a group of volunteers ran behind Kejriwal’s trademark blue Maruti Wagon R, mediapersons too followed. A Tata Aria, in which Manish Sisodia, Kumar Vishwas and Sanjay Singh were travelling, too was mobbed by supporters.
At one point, at the Surya Nagar crossing, a cameraman drew up alongside their vehicle and started filming them.
As curious onlookers realised that those who will govern them sat inside, they broke into smiles. One man fed Sisodia and Vishwas sweets. The signal turned green and they moved on. Only to be mobbed by another group of supporters at the next signal.
Five minutes before he reached the Lt-Governor’s residence, Kejriwal’s car came to a halt. Traffic constables seemed to be clearing the road. When one of them was asked what had happened, he said, “VIP movement hai.”
After the blue Wagon R had passed, a volunteer told the constable, “Woh Arvind Kejriwal ki gaadi thi.” As he passed by smiling, the policeman stood and watched, bewildered. “How was I to know? It looked like any other car.”
The group drove straight to the Lt-Governor’s residence. People milled around outside, speaking to each other mostly about Delhi’s future.
Half-an-hour later, the AAP leaders emerged, this time on foot. Such was the pushing and shoving that Kejriwal wasn’t allowed to sit